Visit to a Meat Market

In developed countries we are used to going to the supermarket to buy animal produce: chicken, fish, beef and pork. We enter an area that has been cooled and the product we are buying has been cleaned and wrapped in clear plastic. The air smells clean and fresh. Our hands do not touch the animal flesh. We have been distanced from the sight and smells of the raw meat.

When vacationing in Mauritius, I took the opportunity to take my children to an open meat market. I wanted them to experience how others buy their meat produce; and to realise that not everyone selects their meat from the freezers and fridges in the supermarket. The first section we walked into was where they sell the chicken. The building is cool, made with brick, but it is not refrigerated. Chickens are on display for customers to choose.

Chicken on display at the meat market. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

Fresh fish is also on sale – fish that one hopes was taken out of the sea waters that morning by fishermen. They are arranged for display on the cold metal slabs, tempting buyers who are searching for fresh seafood for their dinner.

Fresh fish on display. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

We left the building which housed the fresh fish stock and walked into the one that houses the beef, pork and other red meats. The first thing the children commented on was the pungent smell. And the number of flies that were buzzing around! The displays are not as hygienic as found in the supermarkets we are used to frequenting.

The meat market in Port Louis. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

But even though the meat market had an antiquated feel about it, much variety was on display. The rack of sausages showed that the butchers had a large variety to offer their customers:

Display of sausages at the meat market. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

The butchers laid out many cuts of meat to tempt the shoppers and those passing by.

Display of meat cuts at meat market in Port Louis. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

What was interesting to see was the old-fashioned scale that is still in use by the butchers when weighing any product that is sold: an old-fashioned piece of equipment that is still seen to be a part of everyday shopping in this part of the world.

Weighing scale. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

After the gloom and intense smells of the meat market, we walked outside to smell the cleaner air and take in the colours of the road outside. (You can take a look at what we saw outside the meat market by visiting a previous post).

Would you buy any animal products at an open meat market like this one?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

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29 thoughts on “Visit to a Meat Market

  1. I do not really like this way of “open” trading of meat. But what can you do or say, that’s how they do it and that”s how it’s going to stay for many years to come

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    1. I have only seen this in developing countries. When I visit a butchery, for example, I do not see the flies buzzing around, or the meat displayed on open slabs as shown in the photo I took.

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  2. I think it is important for children to know where the food comes from. There are probably health regulations that do not allow those types of markets here, especially with the flies.

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  3. In China or in the Philippines the things you buy in the open meat market a.k.a., wet market are cheaper and fresher than in the supermarkets. I think that’s where most restaurants get their supplies.

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  4. THis was an important lesson for you children and I’m sure they won’t forget it soon. We all need to be reminded where our food comes from, both plant and animal products.

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  5. I’ve seen similar markets in other parts of the world. Our western sensibilities make us leary of this way of doing business, but I think there are pros and cons to every system. When there is a breakout of ecoli from a meat processing plant in North America, we don’t look so clever do we? Excellent post!

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  6. Thankfully, I don’t eat meat but I have to say it was great exposure for the kids… Like Julie said above, because they don’t add preservatives and chemicals to their meats, you’re probably getting fresher quality meat. 🙂

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      1. I don’t blame you… I won’t buy it if it isn’t covered. I have to say that at the open markets in France, they do sell fresh meats straight from the farms. 😉

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